Los Angeles wins approval for highlighted sharrows

This past month, the Bikeways Department for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation announced their pilot project approval to experiment with highlighted sharrows. Also called greenback sharrows, these pavement markings have a square of green paint around the sharrow, contrasting with the street’s pavement and increasing its visibility to drivers and bicyclists alike. The department plans to install this pilot project in early 2013 and study the impact on bicyclist safety and encouragement over the year.

LADOT gained approval from the California Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC) to experiment with highlighted sharrows, the first step to approval for use statewide, although LADOT still needs to gain approval for experimentation from the Federal Highway Administration. As the FHWA has typically been more willing to experiment than the CTCDC — the FHWA last year approved green-painted bike lanes – winning approval isn’t expected to be difficult.

LADOT is known for its exhaustive research, last year releasing a report definitively showing that the presence of sharrows improved driver interactions with bicyclists and increased the passing distance between drivers and bicyclists. At CalBike we’re hoping their study of highlighted sharrows will provide similarly unimpeachable results that can be used to support more robust and progressive bicycle infrastructure around the state.

by Chris Kidd, CalBike board of directors